Wednesday, 16 September 2009

14/09/09 and 15/09/09

On Monday 14th I fixed my bike, so a check of the patch edges was to follow. I headed for West Holywell and Backworth Pond, which was quiet, my aim for coming to this area was to catch up with the flock of Tree Sparrows which SP had found, not far along the track heading North along the side of Seghill Tip, the distinctive Tree Sparrow call could be heard in an adjacent hedge line, I stopped to find over 12 birds present, the flock must be dispersing because this is a slice of the original 40+ birds present. The flock consisted of mainly Juvenile birds. There was also a male Kestrel hunting in the fields near by.

Next was the Dene, I continued along the path along the edge of the tip, coming out closer to the Seghill Pond end of the dene, and the Canyon (the name given to the bike jumps in this area). It was at the canyon where I picked up a Dragonfly, I think it's a Southern Hawker but I could do with some help.

I watched it hawk around in small area between some jumps, patrolling a small territory, taking all the same turns, and now and again landing on the leaves above. It didn't stay long enough and near enough to get a decent photo.

As I was leaving the Canyon, a Wagtail caught my eye, I moved back to get into a better position and found an adult Male Grey Wagtail, in stunning plumage, this bird was immaculate. Just as it began to move off upstream, a small flock, of what at first I thought was just Blue Tits and Great Tits, pasted through, I knew from past experiences to check these flocks for other species such as Blackcaps, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, and other Warbler species. Although none of these species were present I did pick up a lone Coal Tit, which began to bathe in the burn, some Long- Tailed Tits, and 2 Treecreepers which I had missed this year until now. I think it was at this point when a thought 'nature has a way of coming together', if I hadn't been watching the Dragonfly for 5 minutes, I would have possibly missed the Grey Wagtail, which would have in turn not led me to the flock of Tits/Treecreepers which passed through quite rapidly, I've been through situations like this before and they always make me wonder if a trail has already been left in front of us we just need to understand how to follow it.

Riding along the dene, I picked up a Female Sparrowhawk and a Grey Heron, I moved on, to the Pond. 10 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 2 Female/Juv Ruddy Duck, Pair Mute Swan, 13 Little Grebe + 2 small young, 1 Female Shoveler, 4 Moorhen + 2 medium young, 15 Coot + 1 medium young, 20 Tufted, 1 Female Pochard, 18 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, Large No. Gulls mainly Black Headed with Herring and 2 Common Gull, due to East field being ploughed, also large no. Jackdaws. A Peacock Butterfly seemed to be beginning to hibernate inside the hide behind the central shutter.

15/09/09 10:30 Sunny with NNE wind

Back on the bike, although the plan was to pass the Beehive, then pond, then head through East fields to pick the dene back up at the sluice, check Rocky Island, then head for St Mary's, Briardene and back home. Well that's exactly what happened.

First crossing the carboot I noticed 8 Common Gulls amongst the regular Herirng Gull and Jackdaws. Beehive flash was quite productive, 34 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, Lapwing made up the waders, with a Grey Heron, 4 Mallard, and 20+ Linnet also present. There was a large number of Corvids throughout my travels today, feeding in the cut and ploughed fields.

At the pond I just stopped off at the public hide, and noted 57 Canada Geese, 10 Greylag and 4 Common Gull. Off towards the sluice, I flushed a single Grey Partridge from the footpath, as I approached the dene there was a large flock of Goldfinch and a single Speckled Wood.

Rocky Island was pretty bare, 1 Juvenile Gannet was diving just off shore, along with Eiders, 4 Sandwich tern joined a large group of Oystercatchers on the rocks. The wind was quite strong at this point, the Herring Gulls used the opportunity to hang in the lift given off by the cliffs. As I was leaving Rocky Island a Shrew ran across the path in front of me, which I was pleased to see, as normally only when they are killed you come across them. Due to the odour they give off when attacked, enough to put the predator off them even in death.

Only bird of note at St Mary's was a single Juvenile Stonechat, the Med Gull was yet again not present at the Briardene when I arrived.

I stayed clear of Holywell today as Natural England were due to perform some survey work regarding the aquatic plants on the reserve, will be interesting to see the results, instead I went to look at a job with dad, at Rothbury.


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  2. Yes your correct, it's a male Southern Hawker. This species seems to be getting more common in the N E. I found one in Killy church grounds. They often frequent gardens and wooded areas. Cheers Brian